The world of robotics has started to change. Traditionally these machines have played a key role in the manufacturing sector, but with advances in what’s known as social robotics they could also play a fundamental part in improving quality of life, particularly in the home and non-industrial environments. “The improvements in processing power and sensing technology allow us to develop more complex system models that provide a more ‘human’ interaction,” says Carl Clement, director of social robotics at Emotion Robotics. For instance, ‘cognitive robots’ can be taught tasks, learn behaviour and, to some extent, understand their environment and show emotion.
Healthcare is one area where there is a lot of interest. The technology can greatly help surgical procedures, as seen with the Da Vinci Robot, and there have been moves into the bionics space with prosthetics and rebuilding damaged limbs. But the big attraction is socially assistive robots in healthcare. Aldebaran’s Nao (pronounced now) Robot (pictured), for instance, has been successful with autistic children in helping to develop communication and social skills. Likewise, the Japanese-invented PARO-Seal robot is being used with NHS dementia patients.
To learn more about how robots might impact healthcare in the 21st Century, read our SmartTech article from the November issue of PharmaTimes Magazine here.